Historical information

In November 1914, an advertisement was placed in the British national press inviting monetary contributions to a 'Sailors and Soldiers Christmas Fund' which had been created by Princess Mary, the 17 year old daughter of King George V and Queen Mary. The purpose was to provide everyone wearing the King's uniform and serving overseas on Christmas Day with a 'gift from the nation'. The response was overwhelming, and it was decided to spend the money on an embossed brass box, based on a design by Messrs Adshead and Ramsay. The contents varied considerably; officers and men on active service afloat or at the front received a box containing a combinationof pipe, lighter, tobacco and 20 cigarettes and wrappers. Non smokers received a bullet pencil and a packet of sweets instead. Indian troops often got sweets and spices, and nurses were given chocolate.This box is on loan from the grandson of the soldier who it was given to.


This box is on loan from Terry Phillips. It belonged to his Grandfather who served at Gallipoli.

Physical description

Princess Mary 1914 Christmas Gift tin. Decorative brass with Princess Mary's profile surrounded by a laurel wreath engraved in the the centre of the lid, with the letter 'M' on both sides. The names of the allied nations are engraved in the corners and on the sides. A sword and scabbard decorate the top side. The lower side is decorated with battleships..

Inscriptions & markings

At the top a decorative cartouche contains the words "Imperium Britannicum" and one on the lower edge contains the words "Christmas 1914". In small roundels on the corners appear the names "Belgium", "Japan", "Montenegro" and "Servia". "France and "Russia" are written on the short sides.